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As the Election Heats Up, LISTEN to the Candidates

In 1998, a mysterious little man that Whitley Strieber calls the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all kinds of things he didn't know--but when he checked them out later, he found out they were TRUE. (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW). However, like so many gurus, MOTKE left Whitley with more questions than answers.

As next presidential election starts to heat up, here's something YOU may want to ask yourself while listening to the various candidates debate each other: How can some of them respond to a question without answering the question, yet satisfy their listeners? This is the skill of "artful dodging." People typically judge a speaker with the goal of forming an opinion of the speaker, which can make them susceptible to dodges. According to psychologists, limited attention capacity is another reason people fall for dodges.

The researchers conducted four different experiments with four separate groups of people, totaling a little over 1,000 men and women averaging 44 years old. In 3 of the studies, participants watched a video of a mock political debate and then responded to an online survey. In the fourth study, participants listened to excerpts of a recording of a mock political debate and then responded to questions. The study results indicated that people are frequently unable to remember an initial question if a speaker answers a similar question. Researcher Todd Rogers says, "Given concerns that voters are uninformed or misinformed and the many calls for increased education of voters--from politicians and pundits alike--very simple interventions can dramatically help voters focus on the substance of politicians’ answers rather than their personal style. Our results suggest that in many cases, dodges cause sought-after and relevant information to go unspoken, with little awareness and few consequences."

There are all kinds of lies, and some of them are less subtle than this: Fox Business host Andrew Napolitano falsely claimed that the retirement rate of baby boomers is "going to bankrupt the (Social Security) system in a couple of months." In fact, the level of Social Security revenues and benefits were specifically modified in 1983 to account for baby boomers' retirements, and the program is projected to remain completely solvent and pay full benefits until 2037. Social Security has run a surplus in every year since 1984, as was anticipated when Congress enacted and President Reagan signed the legislation based on the recommendations of the Greenspan Commission in 1983. The authors of the 1983 legislation purposely designed program financing in this manner to help pre-fund some of the costs of the baby boomers' retirement.

Some of the candidates seem to be running for president as publicity stunts, to get their TV shows on the air or renewed. In the May 17th edition of the Los Angeles Times, Melissa Maerz writes: "The real estate mogul and reality TV star announced that he will not make a bid for the White House, bringing an end to what many have regarded as a transparent publicity stunt. For the rest of America, this means two things: 'Celebrity Apprentice' will be back next season, and the difference between politics and entertainment has never been so hard to define."

Also in the May 17 edition of the Los Angeles Times, Scott Collins reports that former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee, who also recently also announced he won't run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2012, was in the running to host a Bible quiz show on GSN, but has decided not to do it (he probably thinks he'll have a better chance at winning the presidential bid if the GOP is deadlocked).

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